River Watch Header Image

Actions to Support CEQA Under Attack

Hello CEQA Works Coalition:

Campaign update: March 8

Activity continues both in Sacramento and around the state in the battle of protecting the core principles of the California Environmental Quality Act. The biggest news of the week is the appointment of Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) as the new chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee (replacing Senator Rubio, who recently and unexpectedly resigned in late February). We expect to be able to work with Sen. Hill in a productive way as the debate around CEQA continues. See below for a summary of recent media coverage and a brief legislative update. It is essential that our coalition remain united and vocal on the importance of keeping CEQA strong.

As a reminder, a CEQA advocacy day will take place on March 12 at the Capitol in Sacramento. All signs point to a high turnout, and we hope to have nearly 200 representatives from labor, conservation, historic preservation, and other groups in attendance. Please RSVP to Jena Price from the California League of Conservation Voters at jena@ecovote.org (copied here) if you can join!

Please also remember we have an update call today at 11:00am. I will send call-out info and agenda separately.

Media Updates

Participate in Media Outreach

One of the most important things CEQA Works members can do is submit letters to the editor on a regular basis to local and regional newspapers touting the strengths of this important environmental law. This week, we also saw an excellent opinion-editorial appear in San Luis Obispo News-Times. The authors of this piece contact CEQA Works for key messages to include in the article, which allowed them to write in their own style while also helping to shine a light on why CEQA is so important for California. If you would like to write something for your local paper, contact nina@publicgoodpr.com for current key messages to include.

This week’s media highlights include:

Recent CEQA coverage-Overview:

San Luis Obispo News-Times: It’s the environment, stupid
Capitol Public Radio: Dozens of Bills Would Change Key Environmental Law

Sacramento Bee: Jerry Hill Chosen to Lead Environmental Committee

California Economic Summit: CEQA Roundup: What’s Next after Rubio?

Anti-CEQA Coverage (send in your Letters to the Editor!):
San Jose Mercury News: CEQA Reform: Time For Meaningful Changes to 43-Year-Old Landmark Law
Sierra Sun Times: California Senator Tom Berryhill Introduces CEQA Legislation to Attack Most Egregious Abuses

Riverside Press Enterprise: OPINION: Support Governor’s Push to Modernize CEQA

Community Outreach and Coalition Building

A hearty welcome to the newest members of CEQA Works:

  • Clean Air Now
  • Communities for Sustainable Monterey County
  • Concerned Community Members and Parents of Redwood Elementary School Students
  • Equestrian Trails Inc.
  • Friends of College of San Mateo Gardens
  • Friends of Griffith Park
  • Friends of Mark West Watershed
  • Friends of Palm Springs Mountains
  • Hollywoodians Encouraging Logical Planning (HELP)
  • LandWatch Monterey County
  • Little House Committee
  • Los Angeles Conservancy
  • Monan’s Rill Institute
  • Our City
  • Richmond Community Association

If you haven’t already, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Tumblr. Please share our posts and re-Tweet our tweets! Please invite likeminded groups to sign on at http://ceqaworks.org/take-action/. Contact nina@publicgoodpr.com for a sample email that you can personalize and share with potential supporters in your community.

Legislative Updates

As noted above, CEQA Works welcomes Sen. Jerry Hill to his new position as Chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, and the members of our coalition look forward to working with him in a collaborative and productive way. There were 26 bills introduced by the February 22 deadline that would impact CEQA. Unlike recent years, a full 10 of these bills represent positive CEQA reform that were developed/are being pushed by environmental interests and other coalition partners, including two omnibus bills being put forward by Senator Evans and complementary bills introduced by a variety of Senators and Asssemblymembers. The other big news on the legislative front is that, with Senator Rubio’s abrupt resignation, the dreaded ‘standards approach’ is off the table and Senate Pro tem Steinberg has introduced intent language for his CEQA reform bill, SB 731.  These bills were summarized in previous CEQA Works email updates, but since we have so many new members, we have included those summaries below.

How You Can Help

  • Join us for a CEQA advocacy day on March 12 (10:00am-5:00pm), please RSVP to  Jena Price from CLCV at jena@ecovote.org if you can join!
  • Participate in media outreach (details above and key messages listed below).
  • If you’re able, please consider providing financial support to allow PCL Foundation to continue coordinating CEQA Works.

Current key messages

Please write letters to the editor in your own words, and include these points and messages when appropriate.

General tips

  • Avoid using the term “CEQA;” spell out “the California Environmental Quality Act.”
  • Emphasize that the push to weaken CEQA is coming from developers and polluting industries.
  • When discussing proposed changes to CEQA, talk about “weakening California’s environmental laws” instead of “reforming CEQA.”

Writing points

  • We are committed to protecting CEQA’s core strengths, and we will remain vigilant on this effort throughout this legislative session.
  • We stand behind efforts to strengthen CEQA and the protections it provides for our environment, as well as for community participation in the development approval process.
  • This law has served our state well for more than 40 years and has helped to make our state what it is today, a place where millions of people want to live, raise their families, and vacation.

Sample letters to the editor can be seen here.